Skip to main content

Full text of "My country and my people"

See other formats

STORY   OF   THE   S I N O - J A P A N E S E   WAR       337
villages, and first learn what western machines mean by seeing crawling armoured caterpillar tanks. Scientific accuracy means the accuracy of gunfire, and the mastery of physics and chemistry is proved by mustard gas, dumdum bullets and searchlights of the Japanese navy on the Yangtse. Perhaps the farmers' children will swear to become modern with a curse while women with raped daughters and bayoneted babies cry in confusion and terror, unable to comprehend the personal happenings that are the results of a fat-away world, dominated by sheer commercial greed, that now descends upon them in the frightening combination of Attila hordes armed with machine-guns.
Yet being modern is not simply being armed and warlike and brutal. It is perhaps possible to strike an equation about the advantages and disadvantages accruing to China from this transformation through modern influence and modern circumstances.
The process of China's acclimatization to the brutal, waning world of to-day is necessarily a hardening process, boding good neither for her neighbours nor for herself, just as I challenge any claim that the human life led by the men and women of modern fascist states, like Germany, Italy and Japan, is a whit better as human life than in, let us say, sixteenth-century Italy or eighteenth century China. So far as the end of human happiness is concerned, the net result of progress is nil; so far as the ideal of human dignity is concerned, the net result is a minus, and in the judging of civilizations let us never lose sight of the true end and ideal of human life. Suppose China becomes a good, fighting nation, well armed and well equipped after the war; nothing is gained thereby if she has to continue to live in a warring world, as compared to an unarmed, unequipped and isolationist world that she was living in in the eighteenth century. The respect gained by military prowess -invites fear from without and breeds haughty arrogance of the igi4-German or igsy-Japan type, corroding the soul of the nation from within and necessarily imposing upon the nation terrific sacrifices for an object unknown. So far as the world can discover, neither the German people of 1914, nor the Japanese people of 1937, knew what they were called upon to fight and